By Miri -
Throughout the last weeks, I've been finding it very hard to not get distracted by all the good news coming in from Turkey, and to focus instead on the as usual not too positive updates from Palestine and Israel. I therefore decided to write about the rather complex relationship between Turkey and Israel, two states that easily qualify as rogue states, and which seem to always get away with it.
Israel and Turkey
The Republic of Turkey was the first Muslim majority country to recognise Israel's statehood in 1949. Soon the nurturing of military, strategic and diplomatic cooperation between the two states was given high priority by both. Although usually joining into the chorus of criticism against Israeli aggression towards the Palestinian population, Turkey's tone of voice was usually milder than that of other Muslim majority states.
Until 2008, economic and diplomatic relations remained good and both countries benefited especially from their military collaborations, yet with Israel's Operation Cast Lead during which more than 1,000 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, the ties between the two countries were slowly severing.
|Protest in Istanbul commemorating the Flotilla incident.|
Israel and the Kurdish
The Kurdish people are an ethnic minority spread across the borders of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. Since its foundation, the Republic of Turkey has been violently oppressing the Kurdish and their culture in its territory. Measures by the Turkish government included among others, forced relocations, destructions of whole villages and the banning of the Kurdish language.
Whenever Turkey launches criticism against Israel's policies towards the Palestinians, right wing Israeli politicians are quick to reply, that Turkey was one of the last countries to point its finger towards Israel, considering their own treatment of the Kurdish minority.
In the aftermath of the above mentioned Freedom Flotilla raid, a group of Jewish Israeli students announced that they would organise a counter-flotilla to northern Kurdistan to raise awareness to the plight of the Kurdish living under Turkish occupation.
|Israelis of Kurdish decent protest in front of the Turkish embassy|
Jewish organisations worldwide on the other hand lobbied for campaigns to aid the Kurds living in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Israel and the Armenian Holocaust
During and after World War I the Ottoman government systematically exterminated the Armenian communities from their historic homeland, which now forms part of the Republic of Turkey. Through massacres, forced labour, as well as deportation to the Syrian desert, an estimated number of 1 to 1,5 million Armenians were killed.
|Armenians in Israel protesting for the recognition of the genocide|
Turkey and the Palestinians
|Hamas leader Haniyeh and Prime Minister Erdogan|
Especially current Prime Minister Erdogan has been an active voice in condemning Israeli policies towards the Palestinians and Turkey also supported the Palestinian UN bid in 2012.
Notwithstanding US objections, Erdogan, whose sympathies concerning the Palestinian internal divide have always clearly rested with Hamas, announced that he planned to visit Gaza and the West Bank in the coming months.
Seemingly, despite their differences, Turkey and Israel should actually get along quite well, and probably, as long as they can economically and strategically benefit from the partnership, the human rights abuses that each side continues to commit will be sidelined, or only used as a way to distract from their own.
Yet, these days the Turkish government is probably anyway too busy repressing the uprising of its own citizens, than to deal with Israel or Palestine.
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